Apple has unveiled its latest version of iPad, armed with a Full HD display with 3.1 million pixels and a supercharged new processor.
Apple said the resolution of the display was 2048 by 1536 pixels. The tablet is also powered by a new A5X chip with improved graphics performance.
Chief executive Tim Cook claimed to be “redefining the category that Apple created”.
Apple dominates the market but is set to face a fresh challenge when devices running the full Windows 8 system are expected to go on sale later this year.
The new iPad also features a 5-megapixel camera sensor. It will be able to run on 4G LTE networks where the service is available and can act as a wi-fi hotspot for other devices if carriers allow the function.
It is 9.4 mm deep, slightly thicker than the 8.8 mm profile of the iPad 2.
Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller said the tablet has the same 10-hour estimated battery life as the previous model using only wi-fi. That limit shortens by an hour when using 4G.
The device will be available on March 16 and priced from $499-$829 – the same range as the iPad 2, which the technology giant launched a year ago.
The new iPad is due to go on sale on the same day in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan.
Apple also announced an upgraded TV box which can now handle 1080p video.
Films and TV shows will be sold via its iTunes store in the high-definition format.
IMS Research said Apple accounted for 62% of the global tablet market in 2011. Ahead of the press conference it said it expected that share to rise to 70% this year.
Analysts at Gartner said it expects Apple to sell 69 million iPads before the end of 2012. By contrast if forecasts stores will sell 22.8 million tablets running Google’s Android system, and 6.3 million Blackberry Playbook devices.
Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg said: “I’d call the new iPad an evolutionary device with some revolutionary experiences”.